Eagle Scouts receive more than $500K in NESA scholarships

John Andrew Segebarth didn’t know about the scholarships the National Eagle Scout Association provides every year until his Order of the Arrow lodge chief encouraged him to apply.

Because he did, he’ll be able to live on campus and be more involved when he attends the University of Kentucky this fall. John recommends other Eagle Scouts look into what NESA offers.

“The best thing that can happen is that it can change your life,” he says.

With funds totaling $524,000, NESA recently bestowed scholarships to 69 Eagle Scouts who will be attending higher education institutions, from junior colleges to four-year universities. Funding for these scholarships comes from the National Eagle Scout Association, the Lawrence S. and Mabel Cooke Scholarship, Hansen & Mary Hall Scholarship Fund, the Lester S. McElwain Eagle Scholarship Endowment, and the Robert and Rebecca Palmer Eagle Scout Scholarship Endowment.

Applying for these scholarships isn’t the only benefit to being a member of the National Eagle Scout Association. NESA members also receive networking resources, direct NESA communications and members-only offers.

The national recipient

John, 18, an Eagle Scout with Troop 41 of Lexington, Ky., received the top Lawrence S. and Mabel Cooke scholarship. He will be attending the University of Kentucky with plans to study public policy or economics.

John joined as a Tiger and moved through the ranks of Cub Scouting. Little did he know what his time in Scouting would turn into.

“The things you wouldn’t expect when you sign up in first grade for the BB guns and slingshots,” he says.

He crossed over into Troop 41, where he held multiple positions of responsibility, including assistant senior patrol leader, junior assistant Scoutmaster and OA representative. He fell in love with being in the OA, he says.

As a chapter chief at age 15, he wanted to plan a chapter event to go bowling. His lodge hadn’t hosted such an event in more than a decade. His budget? $0.

He didn’t let that stop him. He secured a discount at the bowling alley and recruited about two dozen people to attend. In the end, the event netted $75.

Since then, he’s gotten more involved with the OA, receiving the Vigil Honor, becoming a section chief, serving on national committees and volunteering at national events, like NOAC, where he helped manage $50,000 budgets. He oversees his section’s conclave with upward of 500 people in attendance annually.

“There’s so much more beyond the outdoor skills and the leadership positions,” he says.

John has gone on treks at Philmont Scout Ranch, the Summit Bechtel Reserve and Sea Base. He recently attended the National Jamboree, where he served on the communications committee for Operation Arrow, where Arrowmen supported programs and operations.

He’s been on staff at a local summer camp, National Youth Leadership Training and Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation. John is also a Venturer, earning the Summit Award with Crew 73 in Lexington. He has been a Sea Scout, and although his time with a ship was done online because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he enjoyed his time with fellow Sea Scouts.

“The relationships I’ve made stick with me,” he says. “The best parts of events and trips become catching up with these people. The patrol I started with in sixth grade has yielded some of my closest lifelong friends. Scouting melded our relationships.”

You can see the full list of scholarship recipients on NESA’s website. To read more about eligibility requirements for the scholarships and how to apply, you can check out this page. The next application window opens this December.


About Michael Freeman 438 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is an associate editor of Scout Life and Scouting magazines.